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Considering the Cranberry

Healthy Berry Benefits

The cranberry has long been valued for its ability to prevent and treat urinary tract infection. Recent studies suggest that it amy also help promote gastrointestinal and oral health, prevent the formation of kidney stones, lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and raise HDL (good) cholesterol, aid in recovery from stroke, and even help prevent cancer.

Kidney infections and most other infectious diseases are initiated by the adhesion of pathogenic organisms to the tissues of the host. The cranberry's ability to block this adhesion has been demonstrated not only against E. coli, the bacterium most commonly responsible for urinary tract infection, but for a number of other common pathogens as well, including the bacterium responsible for most gastric ulcers.

Cranberries contain quinic acid, unusual in that it is excreted unchanged in the urine, shich becomes sufficiently acidic to prevent the formation of kidney stones. Cranberry juice has been shown to reduce the amount of ioinized calcium, a major cause of kideny stone formation, in the urine of people with recurrent kidney stones by more than 50 percent.

Other beneficial effects of the ubiquitous cranberry include: Raising HDL (good) cholesterol by 10 percent with just three glasses of juice per day, corresponding to an approximately 40 percent reduction in risk of heart disease; increasing antioxidant levels (cranberries contain five times the antioxidant content content of broccoli); inducing cancer cells to undergo apoptosis (programmed cell death).

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